Thanks to a highly admired cast, this film was able to become so popular. However, “Dune” holds more charm than that.
October 22nd will mark a new milestone in science-fiction filmography in the world. Like “The Suicide Squad” which managed to present a different formula in the appearance of superhero films. The release of the film “Dune” has been said to bring something different from the previous fantasy and science-fiction films.
Denis Vilenueve’s “Dune” is the third adaptation of the legendary novel by Frank Herbert. The story takes place in a desert climate called Arrakis. In this place, feudal clans fought each other for power over the most precious spice in the world at that time known as “melange”.
At the same time, the young boy from the protagonist’s clan Artreides keeps having dreams that he is an emissary to protect the oppressed indigenous people of the planet Arrakis, the Fremen. It’s a bit ironic actually, even though it’s set in the future, the premise of the story that is raised is actually “past”.
Also Read: Dune Review
Besides being famous for its Sci-Fi and fantasy aspects, “Dune” also presents elements of a ‘coming of age story’, combined with environmental issues, politics, as well as spiritualism and mythology. So, why is this film different from other Sci-Fi and fantasy films? We can praise the original story that has been brought by Frank Herbert in his novel.
There is much debate about labeling Frank Herbert’s novels as Sci-Fi novels. The reason is, this novel is not really like most Sci-Fi, even some readers agree more if this novel is called a fantasy novel. But above all, there is no one genre that fits perfectly to define Herbert’s novels.
The main conflict lies not in the problem of technology or mystical creatures, but in the interaction between the characters and the forces that exist in the universe. The release of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” has been eagerly awaited by fans of Frank Herbert’s novels, who wonder if Denis will be able to bring this unconventional story to a blockbuster.
Denis Villeneuve himself is an admirer of Frank Herbert. He read all six “Dune” novels and was greatly influenced by them. His love for the novel “Dune” was his motivation to make this film. As a result, “Dune” became one of the most ambitious works made by the director of “Blade Runner 2049”.
Expected to Become a “Pop Culture Cult” Like “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, and “Game of Thrones”
This assumption should come true. Because, the epics above are actually inspired by the novel “Dune”. Released in 1965, he became the pioneer of the epic fantasy-sci-fi genre. Frank Herbert introduced the “world-building” he used when planning the landscape of the planet Arrakis and its people.
Years of in-depth ecological research on deserts and their ecosystems was carried out by Herbert. This research makes all natural phenomena or the origin of an event can be told clearly. This total “world building” activity should be owned by any fantasy epic novelist, so that readers don’t have to ask “Why did this happen?”
Most of the terms in the “Dune” story even have their own Wikipedia page. For those who read Herbert’s novels, they will be confused with a variety of new terms and the introduction of a lot of characters. That is why at the back of the book there is a glossary to make it easier for the reader. You could say, Herbert is an architecture who designs a fantasy city in detail for his characters to live in, so that anything can happen.
The potential to turn this film into a “pop culture cult” is supported by the fact that Herbert’s novel already has its own cult. Unfortunately, there’s just no really good film from “Dune”, so “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, to “Game of Thrones” have already taken brilliant ideas to create epic films that attract many fans.
The complexity of the story components makes it fail twice as a film
“Dune” is a very complex fantasy story. Telling the feud between factions, the author Frank Herbert needs 6 books to explain the background of each faction and their connection in this power struggle conflict.
The complexity of making this story to the film screen does not only come from the visualization of the background story and its ‘beyond imaginable’ creatures, but also from the message that is not sure to be conveyed properly through dialogue and actions played in the film. The reason is, what makes “Dune” as “Dune” which is known as an influential work is its ecological values, philosophy, and spiritualism that permeate every word, dialogue, and page of the book.
If Villeneuve’s films are only good in terms of blockbusters and epic stories, without presenting creative ways to exude the true values of “Dune”, that would be a shame.
The first promising attempt to make “Dune” into film came from French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who used a psychedelic style to visualize “Dune”. However, the film was underfunded and failed to release. Instead, the process of making it in the 70s was made into a documentary in 2013 with the title “Jodorowsky’s Dune”.
After Jodorowsky, the honor to make the film “Dune” went to Ridley Scott, who then left the project and chose to focus on a more promising project, Blade Runner.
After that, filming was left to David Lynch, who accepted the producer’s offer and left the “The Return of the Jedi” project. However, like a curse, the film, which even though it was released in 1984, still received bad criticism. In fact, David Lynch himself said that his “Dune” was a total failure and that it wasn’t the kind of film he wanted to make. So embarrassed, he ordered the production team to remove his name from the credits.
However, before watching Denis Villeneuve’s version of “Dune” on October 22, it is highly recommended to watch David Lynch’s version of “Dune” . When compared to the trailers and clips that have appeared, there are different nuances between the two.
What makes David Lynch’s version a plus compared to Villeneuve’s version is that Lynch’s version with its own style will make the audience feel trapped in “Dune”. The depiction of Lynch’s character makes the audience horrified and disgusted by his villains. With a nightmare-like atmosphere, we are invited to sympathize with the protagonists who have the ill-fated fate of being trapped in a chaotic world.
Seeing Denis Villeneuve’s trailer, the audience has been amazed by the very cool visuals and special effects. It is certain that this film will contain “jaw dropping” scenes typical of blockbuster films, such as the giant worm scene that appears in the trailer. In this aspect, the Villeneuve version differs 180 degrees from the Lynch version.
In the Villeneuve version, the audience will be amazed and less likely to feel the horror of “Dune”. With this difference, Lynch’s version looks closer to the essence of Frank Herbert’s book, which describes the “Dune” as a place of darkness where people fight for their natural wealth to become the strongest.
Loaded with Imperialism and Third World Problems
“Dune” presents an interesting political allegory and is actually very open to interpretation. That’s why, even though this novel is a legendary and influential novel, not everyone likes it. Judging from Herbert’s background, it is difficult to determine where he stands in imperialism. It also attracted the attention of scholars to analyze “Dune”.
What is clear, Herbert has described imperialism combined with modernization of technology as an act that can make the world can not run in peace. This is symbolized by the attack of worms who came to protect the spices, as well as the oppression of the indigenous people of the planet Arrakis, Fremen. Herbert voiced how the effects of misused technological advances on a region and its community.
The mythological aspects that characterize sci-fi and fantasy stories are also felt from here. And interestingly, existing mythologies or beliefs can be found in “third world” countries.
In the film, the figure of Paul Artreides is considered as Mu’addib the savior who can get the people of Fremen out of their bad luck. The word Mu’addib comes from Arabic which means teacher. Belief in a savior is also found in Java, which believes in the existence of Ratu Adil, a figure who can bring them out of colonialism and misery.
For adherents of right-wing politics, this can be seen through the eyes of fascism, where they believe it is the duty of a particular race or group to lead other races from their backwardness. From this, it is undeniable that Herbert has a tendency to orientalism. Therefore, it is very interesting to know which side Denis Villeneuve chooses to show in his film.
Apart from the controversy above, the most important thing is that this story brings up environmental issues that are relevant to the current situation. A natural wealth should not be exploited in such a way as to cause casualties and divisions everywhere. Environmental issues still feel far from the community, even though they are actually very close. This issue is often buried in political and economic issues.
Herbert has shown his concern for the future of nature if human behavior is still concerned with personal and group interests. The setting of the story takes place in the future, but the conflict it brings is very similar to the famous imperialism era in the 16-17 centuries. That conflict was still relevant when Herbert made “Dune”, and juxtaposed with it today, it is still relevant.
The question arises, does history repeat itself, or does human nature never change? With this, the story of “Dune” will still be interesting to read from time to time to be a reflection, how far has humanity gone?